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Great Expectations (1946) Film Review

Updated on December 22, 2019
Actor
Character
John Mills
Pip
Jean Simmons
Young Estelle
Tony Wager
Young Pip
Martita Hunt
Miss Havisham
Valerie Hobson
Estelle
Finlay Currie
Abel Magwitch
Alec Guiness
Herbert Pocket

About the film

  • Released: 1946
  • Director: David Leon
  • Producers: Anthony Havelock-Allen, Ronald Neame
  • Running time: 1 hr 58 mins
  • Genre: Mystery, Drama, Adventure
  • Budget: £350,000
  • General Film Distributors (UK), Universal International (US)

The Film


Phillip 'Pip' Pirrip is an orphaned child who lives with his older sister and husband. His brother-in-law is a Blacksmith. Whilst out one day, Pip bumps into a criminal called Magwitch. He scares young Pip into getting him a file for his chain and some food. Meanwhile, Miss Havisham is rich old eccentric lady who lives in a mansion with her adopted daughter, named Estelle. She, MIss Havisham, wants young Pip to visit her once or twice a week to keep her company. She also wants to watch him and Estelle play together, like cards for instance. Estelle isn't a very nice young lady and seems to get pleasure in being rude to Pip and calling him names. Pip, however, still falls in love with her.

At the age of 14, he starts an apprenticeship as a Blacksmith. So this stops him from visiting Miss Havisham. When he turns 20 yrs of age, he learns from a lawyer called Mr Jaggers that a secret benefactor has offered to pay for tuition to turn him into a gentleman, with 'great expectations.' Mr Jaggers is lawyer to Miss Havisham, so Pip naturally assumes that she she is the benefactor. Pip travels to London and does his training to become a gentleman where he learns to dress and act as gentlemen do. He shares a room with Herbert Pocket, played by Alec Guiness.

But then, when pip is 21, he gets a request to visit Miss Havisham, so he returns home where Estelle is now also a young lady. It is interesting to see the relationship between these 2 people now they are adults. Throughout the film there are a few surprises and twists and turns. As he returns to London a gentleman, it is interesting to see the relationship between him and Miss Havisham, and more importantly, Estelle.

My Thoughts

This, to me, is one of those classic films that I could watch over and over again. Charles Dickens was an excellent creator of stories, and this is certainly one of them. Miss Havisham's house has a gothic feel to it with the dust and cobwebs that cover everything. It gives it an eerie feeling and we see how eccentric this old lady is. Miss Havisham may come across as a bit strange and unstable, but there are reasons behind this from her younger days. As the wealthy spinster strikes up with the young boy Pip, we see how he grows to like her as he grows into adulthood. There is also the strange relationship between himself and Estelle. Although she was mean to Pip, he still falls in love with her.

Although there are not many characters in the film, it is interesting to see the relationship Pip has between Miss Havisham, Estelle and the escaped prisoner, Magwitch. And I love how this story was written. As one would naturally assume that Miss Havisham is the benefactor for Pip's education. So, along with the story of love and betrayal between him and Estelle, you've got the surprise element too.

I think this is a very endearing film that is still lovely to watch today. John Mills plays an excellent part as Pip as a young man. And I think the acting between himself and the actors who play Estelle and Miss Havisham is exceptional. This film is, indeed, a timeless classic and is always lovely to watch over the Christmas period.

© 2019 Louise Powles

Comments

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I have not yet seen this movie, but I loved reading the book. Thanks for your review of the movie. I'll look forward to seeing it someday.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      5 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Such a wonderful book and film...Dickens was a master storyteller, and the triumph of good over evil that touch men's souls. Very nice review. :-)

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      5 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Flourish - I had a wonderful Christmas thankyou. I hope you did too. Have a lovely New Year. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      I’ve neither read the book nor seen the movie so thanks for the overview. I hope you had a Merry Christmas.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I don't think that I've ever seen the version of Great Expectations that you describe. Thanks for the review. I'd like to see John Mills as Pip.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Read the book, but never saw the movie. Thanks for your review which makes it sound as if it is worth seeing.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      Great literature and a wonderful movie, Louise. I truly liked your review. The story is timeless, indeed. Have a merry Christmas.

    • profile image

      Pat Mills 

      5 months ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      Given the legacy of David Lean, I'd like to see this film at some point. I read the classic novel in college. Thanks for sharing.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      5 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Liz - thankyou for the lovely comment. I've not seen the 1974 version, but I want to. I remembering covering this at school too.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      I got taken to see the 1974 version with Michael York whilst at school as we were studying Great Expectations at 'O' Level. But the version you have reviewed is a classic.

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